Two Delhi officers have been suspended and action has been sought against another five said to have been involved in the construction and renovation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s official residence on Flag Staff Road, Civil Lines.

In a letter to the Director General of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) Tuesday, the Vigilance department of the Delhi government said Lt Governor VK Saxena has recommended action, from suspension to disciplinary proceedings, against five officers, since they have either retired or have been transferred out of Delhi, and are under the jurisdiction of the CPWD.

The two officers suspended are Executive Engineer Vinay Chaudhary and Assistant Engineer Rajat Kant.

This is the first such action in the matter in which show-cause notices were sent to all seven officers a year ago.

The matter of the renovation of the house was first raised officially last year when the Vigilance department raised questions regarding the expenditure and the procedure followed to undertake work.

Festive offer

While Kejriwal continues to be in custody following his arrest in cases related to the Delhi excise policy, his family lives in the official residence. The area also includes the CM’s camp office.

The officers against whom action has been sought include two who have retired: AK Ahuja, then Principal Chief Engineer, and Shibnath Dhara, then Executive Engineer (Central and New Division). Initiation of disciplinary proceedings for “major penalty” have been recommended against both.

The other three officers are

PK Parmar, then Chief Engineer (East), Ashok Kumar Rajdev, Chief Engineer, and Abhishek Raj, who was posted as Superintendent Engineer.

Vinay Chaudhary and Rajat Kant declined to comment.

Reached for comment, Ahuja said, “I retired in September 2020 and the tender was floated in October. Work was awarded in December… There might be some error and I had in my reply to the show-cause notice mentioned that I retired when work on this project started… It was mentioned in the notice sent to me that I recommended demolition of the structure but it was done by the Engineer-in-Chief, not me.”

Abhishek Raj said he would wait for the CPWD to take a call on the matter.

The others – Shibnath Dhara, PK Parmar and Ashok Kumar Rajdev – could not be reached for comment.

Last year, the Vigilance department had issued show-cause notice to the officers, alleging “wasteful expenditure” of almost Rs 53 crore on the renovation and reconstruction of the official residence.

They were asked to reply to allegations regarding various “commissions and omissions” on their part based on a report prepared by the department in the matter.

“It was observed that these officers are using dilatory tactics to delay the matter and have nothing to say… These officers had also approached the Court but they were not provided any relief by any court in four rounds of litigation,” the Vigilance department letter to the DG, CPWD states.

The CPWD, a government official said, had received the recommendations. “Any action will have to be approved by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Manohar Lal Khattar,” the official said.

The Vigilance department has also asked CPWD to provide an Action Taken Report in the matter.

According to the show-cause notice issued to PWD officials last year, Kejriwal was only entitled to a residence below Type VIII accommodation and the current house was “disproportionately high” with regard to established norms.

It also stated that the built and plinth area increased from 1,397 sqm to 1,905 sqm during the project’s execution and that an additional Rs 6.94 crore was spent on “superior specification work”.

This included “making artistic work to ornamental molding over RCC”; a sky-light window over the main staircase area; and use of Burma teak wood. They were further asked to explain why the old structure at 6, Flagstaff Road was demolished without a survey report and why no building plans were sanctioned for the new building constructed by the PWD.

The Vigilance department had earlier said that an amount of around Rs 52.71 crore was spent by the PWD on the residential complex-cum-camp office of the Chief Minister and that the construction at the residence was marked as an addition and alteration but an entire building. was constructed to replace the existing structure.